So you are all excited, because you are launching a startup that will change the world. Hold on for a moment now. Don’t get too excited. Check out our list of 10 reasons why you shouldn’t start a startup first.
- Idea? What idea?
A novel idea with little to no competition is a key component to startup success. Unfortunately, coming up with a startup idea that no one else has noticed is, at this point, almost impossible. The essence of the idea drives everything forward; it is the holy grail in business. However, an idea is not all that is needed for success. An idea combined with successful execution is something that can change the world. So, what do you do when that light bulb moment seems like it’s just never going to arrive? Don’t worry, the world has a ton of problems, just waiting to be fixed.
- It’s a marathon.
Generally speaking, it can take a good 3 to 5 years to get your business to the point where it’s solid, sustainable and making you a decent income. That’s years of hard work and often not much money. Like actual marathons, startups are a long journey that takes hard work, endurance, dedication, sustainability, balance, and strategic incremental steps. Also, both are somewhat a voyage of self-discovery. It is a battle that begins in your mind, and most people don’t even see the starting line of entrepreneurship, being defeated by the hurdles that they can only see. So, do you have the stamina to get to the finish line?
- Fear of failure.
Sadly, data shows that about 90% of startups fail. That’s 90%. If you are having hard time understanding it, try to imagine the following: you launch a startup, work without limits, the startup might or might not get funded, you will be stressed all the time, it will likely take a toll on your health and there is a 90% chance you will fail eventually. You get the picture right? Still, these statistics are not here to frighten you but to show you that failure is normal in the startup world. Moreover, it is accepted as a learning opportunity. You may start 5 businesses before you realize a true success; the first 4 will be just valuable real world learning.
- Risk is not your thing.
When Elon Musk put his last $35 million into the financially strained Tesla, did he know that the company would soon be worth $25 billion? No. Risk is all around us. Everything you decide to do has a margin of risk. One of the main traits of a true entrepreneur is being a risk taker. And that’s what matters. Great, otherwise unforeseen opportunities often come from risk-taking and you simply don’t achieve your dreams by playing it safe. If you need to play it safe, and you are not willing to accept worst-case scenarios for a life-changing gain, then think twice before launching a startup.
- Lack of determination
They say determination is a must for every business owner. Determination, according to Encyclopedia, is the force, motion, or strong will to do something while ignoring the challenges that accompany it. When things do not go according to plan, it’s tempting to give up. It is hard to maintain motivation and focus. Life isn’t easy, and it certainly isn’t fair. It is determination that will help you get back up after you fail, prevent you from giving up and keep you going (even on the hardest days). If you are not prepared to go above and beyond to put in the necessary hard work, then success will be extremely hard to come.
6. Poor timing
During his TED Talk, Bill Gross, the founder of Idealab, identified the five main factors that he believed were essential for startup success. Using hundreds of case studies, he concluded that timing was the number one factor that determined if a startup would be successful. Timing can be the main difference between a major success and an epic fail. If your idea comes too early and consumers aren’t ready for it, they won’t readily adopt your system. If your idea comes too late and there are already a number of different competitors in front of your target audience, you won’t be able to squeeze in.
7. Bad product/market fit
Ok, you believe in your idea. But how thoroughly have you researched your market? Have you vetted all your competition? What differentiates your service or product from those of your competitors? According to a Fortune study of failed startups, 42% of them identified the “lack of a market need for their product” as the single biggest reason for their failure. So, do your homework well and analyze the demand and market you want to disrupt in-depth before going for it.
- Everything can change quickly
What if the venture capitalists pull their funding? What if your co-founder suddenly quits? What if the competition is too fierce? Yes, things move fast in the startup world and life is fast-paced and stressful, but for people who thrive when everything rests on their shoulders, who are in fact more creative under stress, being an entrepreneur can be their ideal career.
- Investors don’t pick up the phone.
Borrowing money from friends and family is a classic way to start a business. But once that initial capital is gone, where do you turn to? Investors, right? Then get ready to hear “no” a lot. You can easily have 100 investor meetings and hear “no” 90 times. And the other ten will tell you “maybe.” And from those ten, you might get a few people to say “yes.” That is if you ever reach them. The reality is that entrepreneurs have to struggle a lot while asking for funding support, as more and more startups are getting launched into the market every day.
- Bye, bye, Me-Time
Maintaining a work-life balance can be quite demanding in the startup world. When it comes to running a startup into profitability, there is no time to spare! Sorry to give you the bad news, but the dividing line between work and life is erased the day you become a startup founder. As a CEO, you will always be expected to be “on,” say goodbye to weekly brunches, Netflix binges, and full nights of sleep. You might have to make some difficult choices, but if you know your priorities, you can find a way to have both.
Overall, before launching your startup, here are three questions you need to answer:
- Are you sure you’ve got what it takes to be a startup founder?
- Did you do your homework — check the market, is the timing right, analyze the demand, talk with potential customers?
- What’s the vision? How are you going to change the world?
If you got all three answers clear in your head, then think no more and launch your startup now.